Sunday, May 27, 2007

Apparel Designing - Apparel Industry

Apparel designing involves the designing, manufacturing and sales of garments and accessories for men, women and children. A student of apparel design needs to have a keen eye for elements such as color, fabric choice and silhouette. Proficiency in computer-aided design is also a necessary prerequisite these days. During the course of their study, students of apparel design become familiar with pattern-making, draping and sewing techniques. Read on to find out more on apparel design courses as well as current trends in the apparel industry.

Apparel Design
Many designing institutes offer short-term programs for students who do not posses a bachelor’s degree in apparel designing. These vocational schools also enhance the technical skills of the students. Most apparel institutions also encourage internship, which is necessary in obtaining a job.

Apparel designing courses are carefully charted out by colleges so that their students can seek gainful employment in the garment industry. Courses in computer and contemporary tailoring are almost offered by most colleges. Most of the colleges insist that the students pursuing an apparel-designing course should possess sewing skills and knowledge of commercial patterns.

The students of apparel design are encouraged to interact with people and analyze the environment before creating a design. Apparel designers seek to create fashion statements and draw a sizeable clientele with their innovative and attractive designs. The apparel designers sketch their designs by hand or make use of a computer. The designers should also have a thorough knowledge of fabric construction. The apparel designers should also have a good idea of apparel construction and pattern. The specification drawings can be done efficiently by using computer tools. The designers should not be unaware of garment costs and saleability.

The students who complete the apparel designing programs qualify for entry-level positions such as assistant-designer, stylist, custom designer, patternmaker or technical designer, assistant trend manager and assistant product developer. Students of apparel design can seek career avenues in the following fields:

* Fashion advertising
* Fashion Design
* Fashion Styling
* Fashion Forecasting
* Fashion Journalism
* Custom Apparel Design
* Image Consulting
* Pattern Making
* Product Development

The students of apparel design should have thorough product knowledge, analytical thinking ability and clear understanding of the market to which they are catering. A career in this field can be a glamorous one revolving around fashion houses and garment shows.

Apparel Industry

The apparel industry has adapted itself to the needs of the buyers. It has begun to specialize in clothes for people of various age-groups and it is also constantly looking out for innovative technology to serve its’ customers in an efficient manner. The apparel industry constantly adapts itself to the changing conditions. The improved standard of living of the middle-class has also benefited the apparel industry. But, predicting the economic changes and its’ impact on the minds of the young people proves to be a major challenge for the apparel industry. Creativity and originality are the cornerstone for success in the apparel industry.

The apparel industry is driven by buyers. The retailers, manufacturers and marketers are key elements of the apparel industry. The competition between the apparel firms has increased and each firm concentrates on tapping the global market. The apparel firms need to be innovative and search for new opportunities and vistas. An apparel firm would do well to incorporate these features so as to gain cutting edge superiority over the others.

* The application of new technologies in order to improve productivity.
* Introducing new marketing strategies.
* Identification of high-potential markets.
* Diversifying products.
* Honing e-business capabilities.

Competition is the underlying factor in the apparel industry, especially in today’s global economy. If the small businesses intend to survive in the apparel industry, they need to design products that are unique and cater to a specific market segment. The small industries will have to create a brand in order to stay in the minds of the consumers. The apparel industries recognized the importance of Internet in the mid 1990s. Many firms in the apparel industry have adapted to the Internet and they have their own websites. The firms have also come to appreciate the opportunities offered by e-Commerce. But, a survey in 2000 showed that the Internet accounted for less than 1 percent in the total sales of apparel, though this is projected to increase in the future. The imports of apparel from China have increased dramatically since January 2004.

It is said that by the end of 2004, all the apparel and textile quotas will be eliminated which would lead to a free trade of textiles. The American apparel industry also has serious reservations about child laborers in the various apparel industries in developing countries. Many companies in the U.S. have prohibited child labor. The U.S. is the largest importer of apparels in the world. The American law enforcers also monitor various apparel firms in order to ensure that they do not indulge in child labor.

The new technology has contributed to mass customization operations. This mass customization in the apparel industry is fuelled by computer technology. Let us take a look at how this happens:

* Firstly, an experienced sales representative measures the customer with the help of the computer.
* Secondly, the measurement data is entered into the computer and specific alterations are made in accordance to the customer’s preferences.
* Thirdly, the measured adjustment is sent to the fabric-cutting machinery to produce a garment piece.
* Finally, the finished pieces of customized garments are allocated a bar code, assembled and then retailed.

The customization practices use a digitized image. Here, the customers are able to determine their preferences by viewing their digitized image on the video screen. The customization process helps the customer to select the apparel design of his choice. The U.S. apparel industry is focusing on global sourcing. The leading players in apparel sourcing are the retailers, marketers and manufacturers.